Biography of John A. Finnigan
St. Lawrence County, NY Biographies

John A. Finnigan. - Prominent in newspaper circles in St. Lawrence County is John A. Finnigan, who is owner and editor of the Commercial Advertiser, of Canton. He was born in the town of Canton, Jan. 10, 1870, the son of James and Hannah (Moore) Finnigan.

James Finnigan was born in County Cork, Ireland, June 29, 1834, and his wife was a native of the same county, born March 17, 1847. They came to this country in early life and settled first in Massachusetts and later in St. Lawrence County. Mr. Finnegan served during the Civil War as a member of the 164th New York State Volunteer Infantry, which was known as "Corcoran's Irish Legion." He was wounded in battle and spent some time in Lincoln Hospital, Washington, D. C. Upon his return to St. Lawrence County, Mr. Finnegan engaged in general farming. He retired in 1919 and lived at Canton until the time of his death in 1924. His wife died in 1920. Both are buried in Riverside Cemetery, Canton. Mr. Finnegan was a Democrat, a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, and belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Finnigan: Margaret, married Cornelius Richardson, lives at Hollister, Calif.; Thomas W., lives at Buffalo, N. Y.; John A., the subject of this sketch; Mary, lives at Canton; Grace, married Daniel J. McCarthy, lives at Ogdensburg; Lois, the widow of Edmund Circe, lives at Keeseville, N. Y.; Agnes, Catherine, Ethel, James, Matthew, and Charles all deceased.

John A. Finnigan attended the public schools of Canton, being graduated from Canton High School in 1889. He received the degree of Bachelor of Science at St. Lawrence University in 1893, and then taught school for one term at Parishville, N. Y., where he was also principal. He studied law in the office of Ledyard P. Hale, at that time district attorney, and later counsel on the Public Service Commission, and in the summer of 1896 Mr. Finnigan went to Havana, Cuba as special correspondent for the Chicago United Press and the Watertown Standard. In September, 1896, he purchased an interest in the Commercial Advertiser of Canton, and became editor. The following year James D. Tracey, founder of the publication died, and at that time Mr. Finnigan became sole owner. It has been one of the leading newspapers of this section since 1873 and has a wide circulation.

On Jan. 17, 1900, Mr. Finnigan was united in marriage with Miss Ana Heffley, the daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Conrad) Heffley, of Berlin, Pa. Both are deceased.

Politically, Mr. Finnigan is an independent Republican. He is a prominent member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, and belongs to the Club of Canton, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and New York State Press Association.


The North Country
A History, Embracing
Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis
and Franklin Counties, New York.
By: Harry F. Landon
Historical Publishing Company
Indianopolis, Indiana 1932

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